Category Archives: Uncategorized

Attraction-Based Essentialism

What is “attraction-based essentialism,” or even “essentialism,” for that matter? Here’s your handy reference post to explain. I’ve proposed and discussed these ideas before on Pillowfort [DW backup], but after a recent Carnival of Aros post, I realized it would be good to port this idea to WordPress as well.

[Preview image Apothecary Jars by Kato, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.]

Continue reading

On saying “before there was a separate aro community”

Sometimes, in situations concerning QPR misinformation, I’ve noticed people will talk about that term as having been created “before there was a separate aro community.” Positioning it that way interests me because, well… how do we draw that line, exactly? I don’t have a concrete answer, but long story short, it’s gotten me thinking about how the aro community talks about itself and its history.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image created using Arrow Tips by Don and Janet, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.]

Continue reading

I want to believe you

You want to have a conversation about the valorization of “love”? Great — I hope you mean it.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Tristan Chambers, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.]

Continue reading

Gender Exploration Carnival – Roundup

This is the roundup for the June 2021 edition of the Gender Exploration Carnival, on the theme of “Sexuality.” View the Call for Submissions for more details.

This month, we received two submissions:

Continue reading

Gender Exploration Carnival – Call for Submissions: Sexuality

This is the Call for Submissions for the June 2021 iteration of the Gender Exploration Carnival. I’m this month’s host, and the theme for this month is Sexuality.

Continue reading

Vacant Rooms & Stagnation in the Process of Assembly

When questioning depends on pulling together a basis of comparison, and when stories to compare against are few and far between, it’s hard to really get anywhere. That’s what this post is about, essentially: gender questioning that remains patchy and inconclusive in part because of a culture of definitions over stories.

[A submission for the Gender Exploration Carnival. Preview image by Terry Alexander, CC BY 2.0.]

Continue reading

Spec Work: Tracing the Emergence of “Spec” as a Suffix

A post on the “spec” suffix, as used in “arospec” and “acespec” (*shudder*), and its (un)surprising connection to certain ways of thinking about grayness. Because there’s nothing like fixating on lexical minutiae to help me avoid thinking about bigger problems.

The title here, for the record, is a joke based on the term spec work (as in speculative wages), which makes it something of a pun, since this post is also speculative. The evidence is fragmented, and piecing together a timeline involves some amount of guesswork. Corrections and contributions welcome. Still, Zhyrs asked to see what I’ve dug up, so here we go.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Fredrik H.]

Continue reading

Affective Contortions

Some fragments on gender, neurodivergence, and emotion, inspired by the TAAAP Chats theme for July. This relates back to some other conversations from the past couple of years, but I’m unable to fully unspool all those connections at the moment, so for now, take this as just a personal reflection piece.

[ Crossposted. Preview image by Ninniane, CC BY-NC 2.0. ]

Continue reading

How Using Tumblr is Undermining Your Community

Are you a member of a small, marginalized identity-based community of Tumblr bloggers, looking to advocate for yourselves, support each other, have meaningful discussions, build, and grow? Then Tumblr itself is standing in your way.

What I criticize in this post is the structure of Tumblr as a platform and what it does to the groups who settle there. Rest assured, it has nothing to do with particular “types of people” or identifying the “bad people,” although it does get into criticizing some bad types of habits, behaviors, and mindsets. The purpose of this post is simply to discuss how the structure of the website itself can undermine community.

On that note, my goal here is to say something different than the usual complaints. I won’t be covering all the usual glitches, inconveniences, jankiness, or even the myriad problems with the automated NSFW flagging and appeal process. A Tumblr user doesn’t need it pointed out to them that the site can be technically dysfunctional. What warrants an explanation, I figure, is how the site itself — with nothing inherent to the userbase — has also been socially detrimental.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Continue reading

Tumblr Ask-Advice Blogging: What’s Holding It Back & How Link Culture Could Help

As many of you know, around the Tumblr “ask” messaging system has grown a culture of dedicated ask-advice blogs, typically inviting questions on specific identities and experiences, such as asexuality. Ideally, these blogs should be helpful places for soliciting advice and making contact with new communities. Unfortunately, however, these blogs face certain inherent problems that severely limit how useful they can be.

The biggest limitations lie in three structural elements of the format: 1) the single respondent, 2) the delayed posting of the initial message, and 3) the notifications all going to the person who answers, not the person who asks. In addition, there are also some psychological issues to account for. Popular advice bloggers, facing a deluge of advice-seekers, are especially prone to writing answers that are both 4) overconfident and 5) rushed, resulting in especially shallow, misleading, or even harmful advice. Aside from changing Tumblr’s features directly, one way to mitigate these issues would be by cultivating more of a culture of links.

Continue reading